The new warden of a small prison farm in Arkansas tries to clean it up of corruption after initially posing as an inmate.



(screenplay), (story) | 3 more credits »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim McIntire ...
Richard Ward ...
Linda Haynes ...


When the new warden comes in disguised as an inmate, he sees firsthand all the corruption and scams the guards and prison officials are running. When he reveals himself and starts to implement reforms to stop the corruption, the local business community, who had been benefiting from the scams, fights back, and the corrupt prison system starts making political trouble for the new warden. Written by Brian W Martz <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most wanted man in Wakefield prison is the warden! See more »


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 June 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Grades do Inferno  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)


$37,100,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Making his film debut, Nicolas Cage appears as an extra. This was also the first credited film of Morgan Freeman. See more »


Brubaker takes the (hot?) TV-Dinner out of the oven with his bare hands and carries it casually to the dining room table. See more »


Roy Purcell: Roy. Roy. Do I get the desk job?
Roy Purcell: You want a desk job, huh? I got a desk job for ya.
Roy Purcell: [opens phone book]
Roy Purcell: Spell "opthamology".
Roy Purcell: Say WHAT?
Roy Purcell: [tosses book and walks away] Jesus.
See more »


References Cool Hand Luke (1967) See more »


All for the Love of Sunshine
Written by Mike Curb, Harley Hatcher and Lalo Schifrin
Performed by Hank Williams Jr.
Heard when the steer is dropped off at the diner
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User Reviews

Excellent film rendition of the Thomas Merton story
18 September 2004 | by (New Orleans, LA) – See all my reviews

This was a well put together film for the period in which it was done in the late 70's. Redford who has always been a social reformer placed an emphasis on communicating the dedication of the Brubaker character in this role.

If you happen to live in the Deep South where prison farms have used convicts as virtual slave labor for years, you can appreciate the story

as well as the attitudes of the government and local officials who are portrayed. If you are not from that kind of background, then it is a revelation for you.

This film is a portrayal of the attempt at prison reform in Arkansas undertaken by Thomas Murton. In the process Murton discovered untold corruption and evidence of multiple murders by previous prison administrations. When he attempted to bring this to light he was threatened with charges of grave robbery.

I would heartily recommend this film. It is one of a kind.

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